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Your house is one of your most precious possessions. Most likely, you would not trust just anyone to look after your house or its contents. If you are considering hiring a house sitter, there are many checks and important details to take into account.
First of all, it should not be too hard to find a house sitter. There are many websites designed specifically for this service. If you are considering using one of these sites, make sure you do some background research. Try to find out from other sources whether the site has a good reputation. Find out what checks the site conducts on the people that they hire. Find out whether they have insurance in place to cover any house sitting problems that may arise.
The sitter you are considering should have excellent references. Try to get three references as a minimum. Make sure that you are able to contact these references either in person or by telephone. For extra peace of mind, make sure that he is able to show proof of a clean criminal record. Reputable house sitters will not be offended by these checks, but will understand that they are part of the house sitting requirements.
It is important not only to trust the references, but also to trust your own instincts. If you have interviewed a prospective house sitter and you are still unsure, take time to think it over. If necessary, see a few different sitters until you are happy with your choice. The way that the person dresses and conducts himself during an interview will play an important part in your choice. The prospective sitter should not mind answering all of your questions, no matter how strange the questions may seem.
Once you have decided on your house sitter, negotiations can begin. He must be fully aware of your terms and conditions. You must fully explain to her what the job involves. You may have some house and garden maintenance involved, or some pet care needs. You should also make him aware of any visitors that may call at the house while you are away.
The next thing to consider is the fee. You may have already paid an agency a fee, and that will be the only fee you pay. However, if you have not determined a fee, then you should discuss it with the house sitter.
Many sitters do not expect a fee to be involved. The house sitter is living rent free in your house, and this is regarded as the fee. However, many consider extra duties, such as pet care or garden maintenance, to be a fee based service.
There are many people who house sit for free. Retired people who consider the job as part holiday sometimes work for free or for a nominal fee. Before you leave, make sure you have made adequate insurance provisions. The house sitter may have his or her own house sitting insurance in case of any problems.
I paid a registration fee of over $200 for one year online membership to a housesitting group here in Australia. The four-week housesitting experience was fantastic for the owners. While they were away they had me there all day, every day, guarding their home, protecting their dog, sleeping in an office on a camp stretcher, dusting, cleaning, walking their lovely dog twice a day and walking miles to a shop with limitations on weight of what I could carry back.
I would have liked the $200 as token of payment rather than see it lost to the middle man. Consider paying a nominal fee to the house-sitter - this creates good faith and feeling all round for a great job done!
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